Report: Japanese Yakuza Criminal Gang to Disband After 100 Years

GANGLAND RITE - The new boss, left of a Tokyo area yakuza syndicate, reads aloud his pledg
AP-PHOTO/mis/stf/eric talmadge

An organized crime syndicate called the Anegasaki-kai has recently disbanded after operating within Tokyo’s old downtown district since about 1912, investigative sources told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper Friday.

The Anegasaki-kai notified other yakuza, or Japanese organized crime groups, in Tokyo that it had chosen to disband on July 25, the newspaper’s sources said.

“Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department said it learned that the notice was sent to the Kyokuto-kai, a designated crime syndicate, and other gangs, and is now trying to verify it,” according to the Asahi Shimbun.

“We need to make sure if it actually disbanded,” an officer in charge of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s anti-gang measures told the newspaper on August 12. “We will closely monitor developments.”

The Anegasaki-kai was founded sometime during Japan’s early Taisho Era (1912-1926), which is named after the ruling period of Japanese Emperor Taisho. Japanese law enforcement authorities never formally designated the group “a crime syndicate,” the Asahi Shimbun observed on Friday. Such a designation allows police officers to target groups “for tougher control” in accordance with Japan’s anti-organized crime laws, according to the newspaper. Japanese law enforcement agencies have treated the Anegasaki-kai as a de facto crime syndicate, however, by arguing that the group was capable of convincing its members “to commit violent crimes on a regular basis at a moment’s notice.”

The Asahi Shimbun summarized two likely reasons for the Anegasaki-kai’s alleged demise last month, writing:

The Anegasaki-kai was regarded as a leading ticket scalper in Tokyo as it monopolized the business in the capital. The group also made a handsome profit running stalls at summer festivals, the sources added.

For well over a decade, the group would “hire” part-timers to buy up tickets in bulk for concerts featuring prominent live acts or sports events, such as professional baseball games, a source close to another crime syndicate said. This activity was its main source of funds. The Anegasaki-kai prospered by reselling those tickets at inflated prices to diehard fans near the event venues.


In more ways than one, it is also a victim of the age. The group had struggled to make money from scalping and running stalls as many festivals, concerts and other events were canceled nationwide after the pandemic began raging across Japan in 2020. Another factor is that tickets, including electronic ones, increasingly are being sold online these days, and cannot be resold so easily.

The Anegasaki-kai’s membership dropped from about 700 in 2003 to roughly 85 by late 2021, according to Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department estimates.

“Over time the yakuza have shifted toward white-collar crime, relying more and more on bribery in lieu of violence, and indeed in the early 21st century they were one of the least murderous criminal groups in the world,” Encyclopedia Britannica observed.

“These activities make the relationship between yakuza and police in Japan a complicated one; yakuza membership itself is not illegal, and yakuza-owned businesses and gang headquarters are often clearly marked,” according to the encyclopedia.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.